Woman brushing her teeth with an electric toothbrush, wearing a towel on her head.

You may have heard electric toothbrushes are better than manual toothbrushes, either from friends, the media, or your dentist. So why use an electric toothbrush?

We all know brushing and flossing daily is critical for our oral and overall health. If you don’t make it a habit, you’ll risk cavities, gum disease, and a host of other serious issues.

Both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective at removing the plaque that causes decay and disease. However, there are a few great reasons why you might opt for an electric toothbrush.

Perhaps you brush your teeth regularly but wonder if you are doing it correctly.

Are you brushing too hard? Too soft?

Do you actually brush for the whole recommended two minutes?

This is where an electric toothbrush can help. We’ll compare the pros and cons of using an electric toothbrush vs. a manual toothbrush, so you can make the best decision for your health and lifestyle.

The “pros” of an electric toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes have bristles that automatically vibrate and rotate to help remove the plaque built up on your teeth and gums. They are widely loved and commonly recommended by dental professionals.

1. Deeper clean

The primary reason most dentists recommend electric toothbrushes is simple: they are typically more effective at cleaning your teeth.

Most people don’t have a perfect technique when using a manual toothbrush, meaning they aren’t getting their teeth as clean as they should. Electric toothbrushes do all the work for you, ensuring you’ll get it right every time.

Furthermore, the vibration allows for tiny micromovements you can’t create manually. These micromovements are highly effective at removing plaque.

Studies show electric toothbrushes Opens in a new tab to a study on Cochrane’s websitereduce plaque by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent compared to manual versions. Oscillating versions faired even better than those that simply vibrated.

2. Timer feature to keep you honest

Unless you are diligently watching the clock while brushing your teeth manually, most likely, you aren’t brushing for the full recommended two minutes.

Furthermore, you may be focusing too much on one area of your mouth, while neglecting others.

Most electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer which turns off only after the 2 minutes is complete. Some also have alerts every 30 seconds, so you know when to switch between each of the quadrants of your mouth.

With an electric toothbrush, you’ll always know you’re hitting the full two minutes without the guesswork.

3. Pressure Sensors

Are you an aggressive brusher?

Many people think brushing hard is the best way to remove plaque and keep their teeth clean.

Unfortunately, brushing too hard can cause problems like excessive enamel wear and receding gums.

Many electric toothbrushes come with pressure sensors that notify you if you’re using too much force. You can brush with confidence, knowing you aren’t causing damage.

4. Easier to access those hard-to-reach places

Electric toothbrushes can help reach areas that are tough to get with a manual toothbrush.

Many orthodontists recommend patients with braces use an electric toothbrush because it’s typically easier to get all the nooks and crannies between the wires.

5. Great for people with limited mobility

Since electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you, they are an excellent choice for anyone who suffers from limited mobility, such as people with:

  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Developmental disabilities

6. It’s more fun!

At the end of the day, what’s most important is you make proper teeth brushing a regular habit.

Many people find electric toothbrushes make the process easier, more engaging, and more fun.

They are especially great for helping kids establish good oral health habits.

Young boy holding electric toothbrush smiling at his mother in bathroom

If you struggle to make brushing your teeth a habit, need help with your technique, or have mobility issues, then you should strongly consider investing in an electric toothbrush! Your health deserves it.

The “cons” of an electric toothbrush

Despite the many compelling benefits, there are a few downsides to going electric.

1. They are more expensive

Cost is the primary reason people stick with manual.

Some lower-end models start around $15. Premium versions can be as much as $250. New brush head replacements come in packs ranging from $10 – $45.

2. Finding replacement heads can be difficult

Depending on the brand and when you need it, sometimes it may be difficult to find a replacement head.

Some brands you may only be able to order online or aren’t carried by your local drugstore.

The best way to combat this is to plan ahead. Make sure you have replacement heads stocked up and ready in advance. Bring an extra head with you when you travel.

3. Bulkier and harder to travel with

Whether rechargeable or battery-powered, electric toothbrushes are typically a bit larger than your average manual toothbrush.

Some people find their larger size less convenient to travel with. Depending on the length of your stay, you may have to bring the charger or extra batteries with you.

However, as technology improves, the size continues to diminish. Many brands offer electric toothbrushes that are relatively lightweight and compact.

Close up of a hand packing an electric toothbrush into a suitcase to travel with.

Both manual and electric toothbrushes effectively reduce plaque

Electric toothbrushes have many advantages over manual versions. Many people don’t mind the additional cost, because they see it as an essential investment in their health.

However, if you can’t afford or don’t wish to use an electric toothbrush, manual toothbrushes can still be very effective. You may have to be more diligent to make sure you are getting the technique and timing correct.

Whether you opt for a manual or electric version, the bottom line is you need to be practicing great oral health habits every day.

Furthermore, everyone should visit the dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and dental exam. A dentist can assess the health of your mouth and provide personalized recommendations.

If it has been six months or more since your last dental cleaning and exam, contact Artistic Smiles today to set up an appointment.

We proudly serve Longmont, CO, and surrounding areas, including Niwot, Boulder, Lyons, Firestone, Frederick, Loveland, Fort Collins, Denver, Littleton, Superior, Broomfield, and Erie.

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2017, and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.

Exciting Updates from Artistic Smiles!

After three decades of serving Longmont, CO with exceptional dentistry, Dr. Cliff Rogge is officially retiring.

While we are sad to see him go, rest assured our current patients will be in good hands moving forward.

Dr. Chris Goldtrap will carry on the legacy at Artistic Smiles, continuing to keep your smiles healthy and happy.

Dr. Goldtrap is currently accepting new patients, so schedule your appointment today!

In the meantime, we have more big, exciting changes coming in the next few months, so check back again soon.

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